Two new bills have been introduced in Mississippi this week in an attempt to legalize online sports betting in the state. Since the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, sports betting has been legal in Mississippi, but it has been limited to geofenced sportsbooks on land-based casino properties.
The bills, HB271 and HB635, both seek to expand online sports betting in the state, allowing individuals to place wagers on sports through their mobile devices outside of casinos. This marks the sixth attempt to introduce online sports betting in Mississippi, with House Bill 606 being signed into law the previous year. That bill had initially aimed to allow all of the state’s land-based casinos to partner with online sportsbooks, but its reach was reduced in committee.
As Mississippi continues to work towards expanding its sports betting market, the introduction of online wagering is seen as a potential boost. The state’s sports betting market saw a decline at the end of 2023, with a handle of $48.9 million in December, a 34.3% decrease from the previous year. Revenue also dropped, reaching $4.9 million, 56.6% lower than in December 2022. However, coastal casinos remained the primary location for sports betting, processing $31.6 million in bets and earning $2.4 million in revenue.
If the new bills are successful, they could provide a much-needed rejuvenation to the state’s sports betting market. Of the four states that border Mississippi, only Alabama has also not yet legalized online sports betting. Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana have all legalized online sports betting in recent years, leaving Mississippi and Alabama as the only states without this form of gambling.